It’s hard to believe it’s been almost six years since Enve SES 4.5 AR wheelset, a 25mm wide, disc-only, tubeless-specific aero all-rounder. It was a groundbreaking road wheel that the width limits shifted and showed the advantages of higher volume rubber. It introduced hookless tubeless to the road world. It was one of the first true disc-specific rim designs. And it did all that while being impressively aerodynamic and competitive in weight.
Fast forward to the present and that SES 4.5 AR wheelset remains a modern offering among a sea of wheels that followed Enve’s path. And to cite just one example: Enve’s closest competitor, Zipp, is now marketing 25mm internal width and tubeless-specific hookless wheels as the future of road riding.
Today, Enve announced a refresh of its entire range of Smart Enve System, also known as SES, road wheels. The top-level range has now been simplified, with six models becoming four, each with a depth and width for a specific use. All models are available on disc only. They all have a hookless design that requires the use of tubeless tires (whether you want to run an inner tube in them or not). And they’re all lighter due to new carbon layups.
The new SES series
The new range consists of the SES 2.3, SES 3.4, SES 4.5 and SES 6.7, each optimized for a specific tire size range that Enve expects/wants the rider to use with the chosen wheel. For example, the ultra-lightweight SES 2.3 climbing wheel or the aero-focused SES 6.7 both offer narrower rims for use with minimum 25mm tires, while the two medium-deep models are built in the middle with a minimum of 27mm tires in mind.
Like previous SES wheels, the new versions all build on the idea that airflow and actual requirements differ between the front and rear wheels of a bicycle. All four new models feature front and rear specific rim profiles, with shallower and more rounded front rim profiles for smoother handling and stability, while the rear wheels are deeper and more pointed for better drag reduction and greater wheel stiffness.
Another common feature of all four models is the use of a hookless tubeless rim bed (ETRTO compatible). Enve was the first to introduce hookless to the road, and while it remains a somewhat polarizing choice among consumers, at least you now have a wider range of tubeless-compatible tires to choose from. Obviously, Enve would like you to use its own SES tires (25, 27, 29, 31mm widths available), but all of its tires approved list are safe for use. And as a reminder, you can use inner tubes in an approved tubeless tire if you prefer.
While the rims change with each model, they continue to use Enve’s proprietary Road Hubs that offer a 40-tooth ratchet drive and a paired weight of 378g (other aftermarket hub options were not mentioned, likely due to ongoing delivery issues). Likewise, the Sapim CX-Ray (J-bend) blade spokes are kept consistent, with each wheel built with 24 front and rear spokes, two-laced.
Enve continues to build its rims in-house at its factory in Ogden, Utah. And the wheels are backed by Enve’s five-year warranty against manufacturer defects and a free three-year rim replacement for rider-caused problems (note: shipping, parts and labor are at the customer’s expense).
All new complete SES wheelsets, regardless of depth, are priced at US$2,850 for a pair. OK, on to the finer details.
Enve SES 2.3
The SES 2.3 is Enve’s first disc-specific climbing wheel, and the 1,197g claimed weight for the wheelset is impressively low.
This weight is mainly due to the lightest production rims the company has produced. Those front and rear rims are just 275 and 280g respectively. Helping to shave those grams is a shallow depth of 28 (front) and 32mm (rear), combined with an internal rim width of 21mm – the narrowest of the new SES range. These feather-light rims measure 25mm externally, the same figure for the minimum recommended tire size.
Interestingly, Enve lists a maximum tire pressure of 90 psi for a 25mm tire, something noticeably higher than the simple “72 psi max” often quoted on hookless, tubeless racing rims and tires. That said, you should still follow the tire manufacturer’s guidelines.
Enve SES 3.4
With rims 39mm (front) and 44mm (rear) deep, the new SES 3.4 is claimed to be a lighter and more compliant successor to the all-rounder SES 3.4 AR. Enve plans to use this wheelset as the best option for fast all-road riding and gravel racing.
Together with the new SES 4.5, the 25mm internal (32mm external) rim width borrows a trick from Enve’s mountain bike range by providing a wide and butt rim sidewall that is not only stronger but also intended to reduce the chance of pinching. reduce a sidewall of the tire (in case the tire hits the rim). That 25mm internal rim width calls for a minimum (labeled) tire width of 27mm.
The weight of this model has only fallen marginally with a claimed figure of 1,395g for the pair. Front and rear rims are quoted on 370 and 378 breaking.
Enve SES 4.5
The successor to the immensely popular and industry-leading SES 4.5 AR. While the 25mm internal width (27mm tire minimum), 32mm external width and 51/56mm depths differ only subtly from before, Enve claims a new layup saves weight and improves wheel compliance.
The weight of the 1,452g (claimed) wheelset is now about 67g lighter than before. Meanwhile, and like the new SES 3.4, Enve has introduced its Anti-Pinch Flat flat-edge sidewalls for these all-in-one road/all road/gravel road wheels.
Enve SES 6.7
Finally, the most aerodynamic offering in the revised SES range is the 6.7. Designed for triathlon, time trial and fast road racing, these wheels have an internal rim width of 23mm that can be used with tires 25mm or wider. The front and rear rims have a depth of 60 and 67 mm and an outer width of 30 and 29 mm respectively.
Enve cites a combined weight of just 1,497g, a competitive figure for the depths.
Overall, the new wheels don’t offer the same revolutionary change that Enve’s original SES and SES AR range introduced. Rather, the simplified SES range seems to be a welcome improvement on what were already highly competitive wheels.
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